10 Irish National Hunt Horses To Follow
We take a look a close look at ten of the most exciting young horses in Ireland for the National Hunt Season. You can find horse racing tips every day on the site. They’re over £15,000 in PROFIT since February 2016!
A Kalanisi mare who stole the show in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper, coming with a late withering run after giving the leader 10 lengths. After a sloppy start that was already reconvened after a false start, Jamie Codd said “The boys probably just bullied her a little bit at the start” but after that she switched off beautifully under an amazing ride by Jamie Codd. She had to switch from the inside to the outside on the run-in before having to switch three times on the straight to complete her run and win by a length to Debuchet, who was also a runner up to Red Jack. Before her heroic Cheltenham performance she rattled off a bumper win for her first trainer Richard Rath and then followed up for her new trainer Gordon Elliott in a Listed bumper. She then went on to perform exceedingly well, showing a completely different set of skills taking the Punchestown Champion Bumper by the scruff and winning from the front very convincingly under Codd. She looked slick and accurate on her seasonal debut at Fairyhouse when winning with any mount in-hand. Sadly on 25/10/2017 we lost Fayonagh after she suffered an injury on the gallops while doing some routine work. She had shed loads of potential and Gordon Elliott said “The sky was the limit with her“, RIP.
A son of Martaline who spent very little time over hurdles, winning once, runner up twice and a sixth in the Grade 1 Irish Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. He landed his debut chase and went on to be third in a Grade 2 won by A Toi Phil. He showed massive improvement and spiked 16lbs in the ratings from December to April. In that time period he had finished third to Our Duke in a Grade 1, only beaten a length before gaining compensation at the expense of the same rival in the Flogas Novice Chase, also a Grade 1, admittedly that was over a trip short of his rival’s best, 2 miles 4 furlongs. He was then sent for a trip to Cheltenham where he ran a fine race in behind Yorkhill and Top Notch beaten just 3 lengths in the JLT. He won his second Grade 1 of the season at the expense of Anibale Fly at Punchestown by 5 lengths over 3 miles, a very impressive victory. He could be tough to campaign as Noel Meade has said in the past “Gigginstown have a lot of horses to consider, and we will have to see what plans are made. I would say the further he goes the better he is” but after his victory over Our Duke he said “It might have been the trip. That trip seems to suit him and that’ll be the way we go I’d imagine. I’ll talk to Eddie and Mike and see what they say.” But a tilt at the Lexus Chase over 3 miles at Leopardstown, a race the owners won last season with Outlander and a possible rematch with Our Duke could be the plan before a possible run in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, for which he is 20/1.
A horse that was privately acquired by J P McManus after his highly impressive debut bumper win where he also mastered Debuchet, that one went on to finish second in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and scored nicely in a listed bumper. Noel Meade reported after his debut “Everything he’s done, he’s done very easy. He’s done a couple of pieces of work but he’s never really been taken off the bridle at home and he’s probably a very good horse I’d say.” After a short lay-off due to injury Red Jack reappeared to claim a valuable sales bumper very comfortable under Danny Benson. Meade again signaled the Gelding was nice and easy to train, “He just got a setback at the wrong time. He’d a sore wither that stopped my routine and made me rush a bit in the end. Other than that everything has gone very smoothly from the first day he came into the yard.” Having only bought & broke him after the Derby sale in June those words can be taken as a huge positive for those thinking of an ante post wager. Winning nicely over 2miles in his bumpers the son of Mahler looks to have gears and staying power which will open up plenty of options for him. He’s out of an unraced Dam but the Granddam seemed versatile winning over 2 miles and 3 miles.
A £335,000 purchase for Gigginstown who has maintained his unbeaten record in bumpers after his sole Point to Point victory which saw him earn that whopping price tag. He won his maiden Point to Point over 3 miles so it’s not hard to see why connections felt the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham wouldn’t play to his strengths at all. Despite his clear staying prowess the son of Germany still had the tactical speed to win a Listed Bumper just pushed out to beat the Mullins trained Good Thyne Tara who ran respectably at Grade 1 level and finished 2nd to a stablemate in a Listed contest. He looks highly exciting with Gordon Elliott referring to his two most recent bumper victories as similar to a piece of work for him. “I would have said he is a two and a half mile plus horse down the line but he doesn’t look slow.” He has already been backed from 16/1 to 8/1 for the Ballymore Hurdle (Formerly the Neptune). He, like the other Gigginstown horses in this guide, is also priced for the Albert Bartlett, 16/1.
Another J P McManus horse and this one trained by the Champion Trainer Willie Mullins. An extremely exciting horse for more reasons than just his ability, he’s made shuddering errors that would’ve stopped many horses in two of his previous wide margin victories. He has won 5 of his 6 starts his only loss coming in the County Hurdle where he was pulled up, that can be easily forgiven as he had a set back that season and was possibly rushed to make that start. Now rated 159 a Grade 1 campaign awaits. He looks to have a very useful engine and may enjoy a step up in trip but certainly didn’t lack gears over 2 miles. As always it’s hard to judge a Willie Mullins’ horse long term aim but the Ryanair seems like a race that could suit him, he’s 16/1 in that market but is also somewhat prominent in the very competitive Queen Mother market in as joint third favourite behind Altior and Douvan and matched with horses such as Min and Fox Norton.
BLOW BY BLOW
Potentially one of the worst kept secrets in Irish racing was just how highly the Mullins yard rated Blow By Blow, which must have made the Gigginstown split that little bit tougher after Harold Kirk and Willie Mullins had sourced him for Gigginstown. He claimed some major scalps at Punchestown including Moon Racer, Presenting Percy & Bacardys. He’s always been thought as a chaser by Willie Mullins, “He’s a big chasing individual, and fences are what he wants“, so it will be interesting to see what Gordon Elliott chooses to do, it’s unlikely connections will send him chasing immediately as they’ve taken their time up until now. Another Gigginstown owned horse who looks like a promising stayer and a 25/1 quote for the Albert Bartlett seems attractive, connections missed out on the race with Death Duty last season and this son of Robin Des Champs may be campaigned similar to that horse.
The Last J P McManus owned horse on our list is the promising Sutton Place trained by Gordon Elliott. Another horse waited with by connections and a trip to Cheltenham was overlooked for the good of the horse. Always thought of as a chaser by Elliott “Chasing will be his game and whatever he does this year will be a bonus.” He showed some massive ability over hurdles third on debut to talented Anibale Fly he went on to land a bumper in his debut season before going extremely well over hurdles and winning a Listed Hurdle, Grade 3 and a pair of Grade 2s before struggling in his first attempt at 3 miles in the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival where he was pulled up abruptly when coming with a challenge. That can be forgiven as he looked raw and still learning the job and up until that point he stuck with some seasoned and experienced stayers. Another thing that can be taken from that run was that Gordon Elliott has staying in mind for chasing, that would leave two sound ante post bets at 20/1 for the JLT and the RSA chase.
A £300,000 purchase and yet another for the extremely strong Gigginstown/Elliott axis who is an obvious staying type chaser (like so many of the Gigginstown purchases are) but could yet do well Novice Hurdling. He’s a horse with enough speed to win a bumper and be placed third behind Fayonagh in the Grade 1 Punchestown bumper and still had the stamina to win a 3 mile Point to Point. The runner up has since gone on to be placed in a British bumper. He made a somewhat satisfactory hurdle & seasonal debut at Galway when he looked to be tanking into contention before a blunder 2 out. He wasn’t given the hardest of rides and definitely looked like a step-up in trip would suit. Another who’ll be tough to nail down in terms of an ante post bet, for that we’ll keep a close eye on his entries in the coming weeks as connections will obviously have an idea of a route for him given their strong team of expensive purchases in this guide.
Jessica Harrington’s Oscar gelding is an extremely exciting prospect for this season with the Gold Cup likely high on his agenda along with stablemate and last season’s Gold Cup winner Sizing John, another, admittedly more obvious Irish horse to follow. The yard have an embarrassment of riches for the race and Our Duke’s extremely impressive victory in the Boylesports Irish Grand National really underlined his bold statement for this season. He’s now rated 167 so any plans of him competing in the Aintree version of the Grand National are all but out the window. An extremely likeable and honest horse who has only finished outside the places once when pulled up while he was plying his trade over hurdles. Chasing is quite clearly his game and he has won 4 of his 5 chases including a Grade 1 and only going down to DISKO over a trip short of his best. He’s currently best priced 10/1 for the Gold Cup but given the extremely high level of quality and likely market fluctuations it may pay to wait until King George time to see how the market is shaping up, for that race interestingly he’s a HUGE 33/1 best price, while Jessica Harrington has made it clear that Sizing John is in line to try his hand at the £1 million bonus for the Chase Triple Crown she hasn’t mentioned that for Our Duke as yet, he has a quote of 5/1 for the Betfair Chase, if he won or went close in that race you’d guess the 33/1 for the Kempton centerpiece would be long gone! Another possible betting angle when markets open would be the route Sizing John took, the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown which could be a good betting play as the trainer may wish to follow a tried and tested route. For any Betfair exchange players Our Duke could represent a very good opportunity to back and possibly lay off at the odds.
The Elusive Pimpernel Gelding went from strength to strength in his highly tried Novice Hurdling season. Beaten 7 lengths by Defi Du Seuil in the Triumph Hurdle would look solid form even without it being only his fourth start over hurdles! He was purchased by the Holdens at the November Horses in Training Sale and turned around quickly to take to hurdles, winning his debut maiden hurdle before going on to finish 5th in his first attempt at a Grade 1 at Leopardstown followed by a 2nd to Dinaria Des Obeaux in a Grade 3 after losing the race in the stewards in a somewhat soft decision. He finished his season out third to Project Bluebook in a Grade 2 event at Fairyhouse. He has already made an encouraging return this season, finishing a good 3rd in a solid Handicap off a tough weight and then following that up with a 3rd to Jezki only beaten 4 lengths in the Istabraq Grade 3 Hurdle.
Another young horse left out of our guide is Three Swallowsnick who was a €600 foal but was later knocked down to Harold Kirk and Willie Mullins for £110,000 after a pair of Point to Point victories. She made rapid progression to land two bumpers but was injured on her hurdles debut and had to put away for the season, if she comes back for the coming season she could be worth sticking in the tracker! If you feel we missed out on any be sure to voice your opinion on Twitter. We’ll put regular reminders up when our horses to follow are running.